(no subject)

I'm in the middle of some pretty stressful renters/roommate/lease drama and looking for advice.


I’ve been trying to get out of my apartment lease for a few months now because the rent increased to the point where I can’t really afford it anymore. I can give more backstory on this if anyone is interested, but long story short the only way I could move without big financial repercussions was to get a roommate. The problem was that the apartment is a super tiny one bedroom that is nowhere near big enough for two people and I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to share it with me. I found a friend who agreed to go on the lease as my “roommate”; I moved out, he moved in, we are both on the lease and he is paying 80% of the rent (paying 20% of the rent at the old place AND rent at my new place still saves me about $250 a month, so I’m fine with this).

Everything fell into place this past weekend, he moved all of his stuff in on Friday and I moved the last of my things out on Saturday. On Friday night he dropped off a check for September’s rent and caught a flight out of state for a 2 week trip. Two days after I deposited the check I checked my bank account balance and saw that it had been withdrawn. I spoke with my bank and found out that his checking account had been closed.

I don’t have enough money to cover all of the rent and won’t for two weeks. Even if I were to borrow enough to pay all of it, that would leave me no money for food or transportation to work. The “roommate” is out in the middle of the desert with no cellphone reception or access to internet and I won’t be able to get in touch with him until a week after the rent is due (late fees in this building are ridiculous, I’d be paying hundreds of extra dollars). From what it looks like on my end he wrote me a check, closed his checking account, and left the state.

I don’t know what to do. I have three other people interested in the apartment, two of whom would be willing to move in ASAP and pay rent up front, but all of this guy’s things are there and I don’t have the time or resources to move or store them. He has so much big, bulky furniture and so many boxes everywhere that I can’t even really show the place to anyone because it’s so cramped and messy. Several people have suggested that I sell his things (he doesn’t have a reputation for being super trustworthy and most of our mutual friends think he intentionally did this to get free storage for his stuff for September) but I’m really not comfortable with that.

I’m also considering just not paying the rent and getting evicted. I know this seems dramatic but this is the third month in a row that I have had trouble making rent and I’m pretty sure if I’m even a day late on rent they are going to start eviction procedures anway. I live in Washington state and I’ve heard/read mixed information on evictions here, but I do know that the 20% rent increase wasn’t legal because I wasn’t given 60 days notice so hopefully that would help my case. If I ended up getting evicted it would be all on my rental history since the paperwork for the “roommate” hasn’t been processed yet. Also, all of his stuff would be in the apartment and like I said, I don’t have the ability to move it or store it so I have no idea what would happen with it.

So, what would you do? This is super TL;DR, but I would appreciate any advice or insight, this rent is due in full by the 5th so I’m in a major time crunch and really not sure what I should do.

UPDATE: One of my boyfriend's friends is moving in the apartment this weekend, thankfully! He knows the situation, is fine with having the furniture around for a bit, and said he wanted to be there if/when the other guy picked it up just in case he got physical with me or anything. I don't know what's going to happen next but for now it looks like everything has worked out.
I agree that he's probably screwed you. Where in WA are you? If it's in or near the Seattle area, you should check with the landlord/tenant union. They have great info for people on rental laws and can advise you where to go from here.

That being said, last month I wrote a rent check and got a call from my landlady saying that it had bounced because the account is closed. Turned out I had written the check from what I thought was my next checkbook (I had just finished one when I wrote it) but was actually a checkbook for a 2nd checking account that I'd had through the same bank briefly but had closed. I'd never ordered checks for it but they'd sent me one checkbook as a freebie and I'd gotten it mixed with my regular checks. I'm pretty organized and together so that kind of mistake was not like me at all, but it did happen and I was in no way trying to screw my landlady.
I live in Seattle, that's good advice and I'll give them a call today!

This guy can be kind of absent minded...he's pretty young and naive and honestly I think it might have been a mistake like that but I have no way to know for sure and I feel like I have to protect myself, you know? The check from the wrong book thing was my first thought. It sucks because I feel like no matter what I do, I am kind of the bad guy unless I put myself more at risk.
depends on what the situation is really
If you're willing to give SubTenant A the benefit of the doubt like this, then yeah, sounds like you've got things settled pretty well: another tenant with whom you're acquainted who's willing to put up with A's stuff until he returns AND be there when he does return...just one question. Is B willing to move out if it turns out A still wants the apartment? or are you willing to just dump A out into the street when he returns? Naive or no, would you be willing to trust someone to sublease your apartment if he's scatty enough to write a check from a closed account by mistake? (Doing that deliberately is another kettle of worms entirely, of course. In that case, make sure B brings several big friends and keep repeating "your check bounced. Your name is not on the lease. You have no right to be here. Here's the stuff you left here and be glad I'm not charging you storage fees."
Re: depends on what the situation is really
I'm not willing to let A live in the apartment after this, I'm looking at buying property in the next two years and really don't want to risk my credit. Knowing him he most likely won't want to ever talk to or see me again, which is fine with me. His parents live here in the same city and he has several friends he could stay with so he'll have somewhere to go at least!
Re: depends on what the situation is really
Yeah, that's pretty much my thought too! A won't be on the street if he doesn't get your sublease, so B it is. (a bit tongue in cheek) just make sure his checking account's open...
Do you have a phone number for his parents, or could you perhaps reach them on Facebook or by email?

I'd contact them to see if they can clean up their son's mess.